SEATTLE -- State authorities can expect tough questions about whether more might have been done to protect the children of a missing Utah woman who were killed along with their father when authorities said he blew up his home Sunday.
Josh Powell was a person of interest in his wife's disappearance. Why was he allowed to meet with his sons at all? Why weren't more precautions taken, such as requiring that supervised visits be at a neutral site rather than at his home?
The answer rests largely in that no concrete evidence has emerged publicly linking him with Susan Powell's disappearance, and Powell was never arrested or charged in the case. Powell had custody of the boys for nearly two years after she vanished, and it was only because his father -- with whom he and the boys lived -- was arrested in a voyeurism and child pornography case last fall that they were taken out of the home and placed with Susan's parents.
Sherry Hill, a spokeswoman for the Children's Administration at the Department of Social and Health Services, said state authorities work closely with courts to determine whether supervised visits should be allowed and whether they should be held at a parent's home or at a neutral site.
"If there had been any indication of suicidal thoughts, or anything that we would have thought there was an intent to harm the children, we would have taken immediate action," she said. "If we had thought that, we would have done what we could. I don't think there's anything else we could have done."